Shelby County father behind initiative to have deputies in - WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Shelby County father behind initiative to have deputies in schools

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A Chelsea man is behind an effort to have law enforcement officers in Shelby County Schools by the beginning of the new school year.

Mike Echols, father of two children in the school system, says it's not looking like that will happen due to the slow flow of donations to fund each deputies salary.

"These acts of violence on school grounds are escalating. They're not sporadic as people think," he said.

In mid-March Echols started, Communities For Safer Schools, in response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which caused many parents and community members across the country to reconsider school security.

There are over 29,000 students in the Shelby County Schools system.

Echols says if community members and parents donate $80 per student, the efforts would raise about $2 million, annually. The funds would go to the Shelby County Commission who, in turn, would be asked to earmark the money for school security and to fund providing deputies on school campuses.

Since the Sandy Hook shooting, Echols says Shelby County Board of Education administrators have kept parents in the dark about their new security plan.

"No one has done anything. We have a public school board that says they have a plan, that seems to be a huge secret because they won't share it with anyone," Echols said

Shelby County Board of Education's response:

"We feel that what Mr. Echols is attempting to do is very noble. School safety is always in the forefront of our daily operations. We have been working on a comprehensive plan for the presence of law enforcement in and around our schools. Our plan not only includes law enforcement but building reviews, safety drills and training, safety and security teams, and on-going safety assessments. We are working to establish partnerships with other governmental entities within the county. There is the possibility for state and federal funding as well." -Shelby County Schools Spokesperson, Cindy Warner

The Board of Education, however, says they're working on their plan, and it should be available in a few weeks. The Board meets Thursday at 6 p.m. at their central office.



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